Kenya First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Makes History with Marathon Finish [VIDEO]
Three hours and 46 minutes after she started the 21 Kilometer course on Sunday, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta sprinted to the finish line of the inaugural First Lady’s Half Marathon with her arms raised and straight into the arms of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The First Lady who maintained a steady power-walking pace throughout the course expressed pleasure at having finished the race and set her sights on the London Marathon.
“Now I can boldly say, London here we come,” she said to applause.
President Kenyatta expressed pride in his wife’s accomplishment and the determination she demonstrated by seeing the marathon through, all the way to the finish line.
“She said she was willing to do anything to bring an end to maternal and infant mortality. I didn’t believe she would actually go to this extent. I am completely proud of her and I really think that this is a fantastic effort on her part,” he enthused.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, who kept pace with the First Lady, also expressed admiration at her determination and how effortless she made it look.
“She was smiling and waving all the way. And I was very proud although I was very challenged; we couldn’t stop in our group because Her Excellency was in that group and so falling off was going to be quite embarrassing,” he admitted.
Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat also sang the First Lady’s praises saying that he was impressed by the over 30,000 participant turn out and wishing her all the best at the London Marathon to be held on April 13.
“For her to run 21 Kilometres which I cannot even run myself as the President of Athletics Kenya is great. I would like to say thank you, your Excellency because it is not easy and now that you are preparing for London Marathon I think there are bigger things to come,” he said.
Former World Marathon record holder Tegla Loroupe, on her part, thanked President Kenyatta for permitting his wife to take part in the marathon.
“I want to thank the Government of Kenya and the President who gave authority for First Lady to do the marathon. She has run in her heart and she gets up very early in the morning more than us; at 5am. How many can wake up at 5am? So she’s teaching us not to be lazy and to be a country of runners,” she said.
And after she got off the course, the First Lady got onto a mobile clinic — the motivation for the marathon — which she drove for a few feet before awarding the winners of the inaugural First Lady’s Half Marathon.
But she received her certificate from none other than the Head of State and her husband, President Kenyatta, who accompanied it with a hearty handshake and a pat on the back.
On Saturday, during celebrations for the International Women’s Day, he explained that he was unable to participate in the marathon himself as he was in no physical shape to do so.
The First Lady has been training for both the inaugural First Lady’s marathon and the London marathon since January under the watchful eye of Douglas Wakiihuri who was the first Kenyan to win a World Championship marathon gold medal in 1987.
Through both the First Lady’s Half Marathon and the London Marathon, she hopes to raise about Sh500 million, of which she has raised Sh200 million so far, for 47 mobile clinics, one for each county, as part of the Beyond Zero campaign.
The Beyond Zero campaign’s aim is to eradicate maternal and infant mortality; an end the First Lady hopes to achieve by ensuring expectant mothers, the children they carry and infants do not loose their lives for lack of health care.
And as for the choice of a marathon to raise both funds and awareness the First Lady explained: “Nothing reflects our resilience and strength as Kenyans more than our marathon running.”
Deputy President William Ruto’s wife Rachel Ruto also joined the First Lady in running the marathon finishing her race in four hours and 20 minutes.
Bravo to the First Lady for setting a can-do example for our Nation. Her Beyond Zero campaign aimed at raising 500 million to supply mobile clinics in each of the 47 counties, is a very admirable humanitarian effort to improve health conditions of expectant mothers and infants. We wish we had more leaders like the First Lady both at national and county levels who are as visionary and selfless to passionately focus their efforts on causes to help those less fortunate in our society. Regrettably, our political system and civil service are filled with greedy and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who waste public funds on their own insatiable selfish needs. I hope other so called leaders will follow in the First Lady's footsteps by actually being leaders. Leadership is not about self interests, rather leadership is having a vision that inspires and motivates others to strive to uplift themselves and the humanity. Bravo First Lady for being a true visionary leader in our Nation.
I admire the efforts and maturity of our first ladies Mrs Uhuru and Mr Ruto. Lets go back in history and rethink what all those former ladies achieved while their husbands were in office. What did Mrs Ngina Kenyatta, Ms Lena Moi, Mrs Mulumba, Mrs Jaramogi Odinga, Mrs Karanja, Mrs Saitoti, Mrs Musyoka, and Mrs Mudavadi. NOTHING. All they left were streets, schools and other public places named after them, and their husbands miraculous a billions shilling richer. No legacy, no traces, no nothing...no nyayos. Only that history will spell their names for the sake of our next generation. That's it! Only masks of goddesses gone awry, and only worshipped during campaigns. That's all! Living in utter luxury while the villages they sprouted from continued to wallow and languish in abject poverty....to date, under their owl-eyed watch. What a shame? We even never heard or saw some of them during the whole period their husbands were busy impoverishing Kenyans, except when they were investigated of something, on a wrongdoing. But they were out there doing something, and you know what it was. Despite all the dramas during Kibaki's reign, Mama Lucy will be remembered for something: the hospital she built for poor mother's and talking about their plight. How about Mrs Ida Odinga? Anything for the women of Lang'ata, flying-toilets residents of the Kibera, or the village women of Bondo? When Mrs Uhuru and Mrs Ruto go out there to do something, say something or interact with the Mwananchi, they remind their husbands of the slipper-wearing Kenyans who put them there. They also remind them of the husbands, who are wasted millions at Mt Kenya hotel instead of doing so at Harambee House, or at the quiet and highly-secured gates of the State House, or the scenic Karura Forest, if privacy was all what they were looking for. Imagine transporting all the 18 cabinet secretaries, security details, typists, and joy-riders? Just figure it out! For these two women, please continue to remind them all what leadership is all about.